The weak magic that was at work in Nevre wasn’t enough for Mrto. He studied as a mage for a few years until he realized that even the great mages had no more power than he did. One day he discovered a tome in the section of the mage’s library that was off-limits. He had been searching for a way to gain power, and he found it.
Carefully placing the aged tome in his satchel he used his hidden passageway to exit the section. Not looking around, that would cause suspicion, he left the recessed section of the corridor where the passageway was hidden. Then he made his way into the nearby forest. It was sunny in Rentaz, the capital of Zentar, that day and he hurried under the safety of the trees. His pale skin hated sunlight.
Mrto made his way to a small hut, one that he made himself and frequented often. The building was starting to fall apart. He wasn’t good with his hands, but he needed a secluded spot to practice his “unwanted” magic.
A mat on the floor covered up a small hole in the ground. Mrto lifted up the mat and pulled a small bag from it. He replaced the mat and emptied the small, pristine skeleton of a common field mouse carefully onto the mat. He pulled the tome out of his satchel and turned to the page he had seen before.
In a groaning, ancient tongue Mrto began reading out the incantation on the page. When he finished the bones on the mat glowed a green and stood up, the skull looking in his direction. He smiled slightly, then the skeleton collapsed back to the ground.
Frowning, Mrto quickly read through the previous few pages of the tome. “Ah, I need a rare herb from the tundra in Ertval. I guess I’m going on a summer journey.”
– – –
Mrto grumbled to himself as he came down the little-used pass. He expected because it was summer the temperature would at least be bearable, but he was wrong. At night it was bitter cold and during the day it was annoyingly hot. It was like the weather couldn’t make up its mind.
The guard post sat at the end of the pass. Cursing to himself for being stupid Mrto cast a weak invisibility spell on himself hoping that the reflective glare of the morning sun would make himself difficult to see and slowly moved past the guard post. Just as he made it beyond the post a yell rang out behind him. Glancing back Mrto saw Zentarian soldiers rushing down the pass toward the guard post. He turned and ran, leaving the Ertval guards to their fate.
– – –
“So, this is the man who is supposedly practicing necromancy in Ertval?” Amir glared at the pale, shriveled man before him. He looked like he had once been more full-bodied, but the dark arts tended to affect one’s appearance. “Do you know the penalty for practicing necromancy?”
Mrto glared right back at the prince. He assumed he was the prince by the crown, unless Rajendra had died in the last few years. “In Zentar you would be sentenced to death by the sword. Here in Ertval? I have no idea.”
Amir turned his back on the twisted man. “Here you are sentenced to live out the rest of your life in the dungeons. Usually, we would send you to my father’s castle, but the court is on its way here so we will hold you in my dungeon for now.” He motioned to a guard. “Take him away, take his clothes, and give him new ones. We can’t chance him having any foci or materials.”
“Yes, m’lord.” Three guards approached Mrto and frogmarched him to the dungeon. Once there he was stripped and tossed into a cell with a fresh change of clothes.
– – –
A few days later, at least Mrto thought it was a few days as there were no windows in the dungeon, there was a huge explosion that rocked the foundations of the castle, bending the bars and opening a gap large enough for him to escape.
Cackling maniacally to himself Mrto felt power envelop him as he left the castle. He knew, somehow, that he now had more power than any of the mages in the mage tower. He had a few plans of how to deal with his old instructors…